ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Clint Jackson was recently given a volunteer position with the East Rochester Fire Department.
After his story was featured on News 8 last week, some community members expressed concern that the former Rochester police officer, who was convicted of 15 counts of misdemeanor sexual abuse in 2003, was again serving the community.
Jackson has since resigned from that post with the ERFD. Wednesday, he sat down with News 8 to talk about events in the early 2000s, and opportunities he hopes come for a second chance to serve.
Then-officer Clint Jackson worked the Lake Avenue section for the Rochester Police Department nearly 20 years ago. His shift was nights, and says he was “proactive” in his approach to the job. He says an attack early in career on the force, while trying to pat down someone, left him with an uneasiness.
“I loved ‘V&T’, vehicle and traffic stops,” Jackson said. “I loved getting out there to interact. It’s one of the most dangerous things out there, but its one of the things I did love to do. You’re trying to find a ‘PC’ or ‘probable cause.’ Maybe you just stop to find out what’s going on. Make sure they’re OK. Maybe someone’s a DWI. Maybe they’re in distress.”
MORE | New volunteer at East Rochester FD raises concerns over past sexual abuse as Rochester police officer
In 2003, Jackson was convicted on 15 of 31 counts of misdemeanor sexual abuse. He was fired from the force, and did 18 months of a two-year prison sentence.
One woman who was patted down by him told News 8 she “will never forget the emotions of fear and helplessness” during the encounter.
“I’m not going to knock anybody,” Jackson said. “If they felt that they were uncomfortable, or felt that they were touched in a different way, first of all, I apologize if anyone felt that way. My purpose was not for sexual gratification.”
He says he did his pat downs by the book, adding that if he could go back and do it all over again, “I wouldn’t do anything. I would just get a paycheck and go hide in a corner until I got called for service.”
He says during his trial, he took the advice of his defense attorney and didn’t testify, keeping quiet. He also says additional pat down training, which was supposed to be provided by RPD, never happened.
“I wish we had cameras back then so I can show people this is what really happened, or a witness, or somebody to verify it,” Jackson said.
In a retrial held in 2004 in the Town of Greece, Jackson says he was found not guilty of similar charges. He says making the choice to testify made the difference.
“I explained to the jury and prosecutor that there were two methods to police work. One is the way you were trained in the academy and then the way things really are in real life. I described what I did and why I did it based on the exact same offenses in the city but now they were able to hear my version. Subsequently acquitted on all charges there,” he says.
Jackson says he’s tried to restart his career as a first responder over the years, the latest opportunity volunteering with the East Rochester Fire Department. He and the department, concerned about the public backlash over his past, decided resigning was in the best interest.
“I want to thank the East Rochester Fire Department for giving me a chance when they didn’t have to,” he says.
Jackson says the clock is ticking for that new opportunity. He revealed he has Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He says he is still hoping for another opportunity someday to serve the public.
“For the viewers … I just ask, isn’t everybody entitled to a second chance? What if I had been telling the truth the whole time?”
The East Rochester Fire Department released the attached statement on Thursday: